Local Wire

Velvet Underground

This is the Velvets' last stand, captured on a portable cassette recorder on August 23, 1970, shortly before Lou Reed left the band. Containing an extra hour of performances, the release of the expanded version gave us a chance to speak to guitarist Doug Yule, who still plays music but has no desire to live the rock 'n' roll life again.

New Times: You're the forgotten Velvet. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame forgot you when the Velvets were inducted (1996).

Doug Yule: It's funny. I was told [that] at the induction party they gave out a souvenir recording of the band as a party favor, and it was me on the record, not John [Cale]. I was working in San Francisco at the time and it was embarrassing. The receptionist read it in the paper and said, "So you're going to the Hall of Fame?" and I said I didn't know. The Hall of Fame wasn't talking to me, so what could I do? When they did that reunion tour in the '90s, Maureen [Tucker] told me that Sterling [Morrison] wanted me along, so he wouldn't get stuck on bass, but he was the only one to stick up for me.

NT: Lou quit during the Max's gig. Did the band know that was coming?

Yule: I can't say what other people knew, but up until the point Lou announced, an hour before the evening's set, I had no clue. But I was 21 or 22 at the time and didn't have a clue about very much. I was surprised, but I remember two things ran through my mind. I was a guitar player before the Velvets, and while I enjoyed the bass, I knew without Lou I'd get to play more guitar and sing. And I knew I'd miss the dynamic between Lou and me and Lou and the group -- that creative tension was a big part of our appeal.

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J. Poet